In a recent blog post I mentioned that I’m currently listening to 40+ minutes a day of podcasts and I’ve had a couple people ask me about what they are. Since it’s a bit of effort to put the list together – tracking down URLs and such – I figured I would post them in one place so everyone can reference them. First, a note though: I have rather eclectic tastes. I’m almost positive nobody I know will want to listen to all of these, but I hope you’ll pick and choose the ones that make sense to you and give them a shot. Also, this is a fairly fluid list; while going through the list I found a couple I didn’t enjoy much and axed them so I can focus on the ones that I believe to have a positive influence on my thinking.
TravelCommons | The first podcast I ever listened to. For quite some time – years in fact – this was in fact the ONLY podcast I listened to. It’s focused on business travel, with a tagline of “It’s more about the journey than the destination” and covers airlines, hotels, rental cars, and all the unique and entertaining experiences related to traveling. Website is located here.
The UC Architects Podcast | A (roughly) weekly podcast covering Unified Communications, focused on Exchange & Lync. This one I honestly have a love/hate relationship with, for no particular reason that I can discern. Sometimes I enjoy the whole episode, sometimes I stop listening ten minutes in. I met some of the guys on it at MEC last year, and found them to be great people. It’s worth a shot and the information you get out of it is priceless for anyone in the UC space. Website is located here.
HBR IdeaCast | “The analysis and advice of the leading minds in management” is how this podcast describes themselves, and that’s pretty much what it is. Produced by Harvard Business Review staff, the usually short episodes do pack a punch with the amount of information they manage to include. Occasionally I completely disagree with everything they say in an episode, but that in and of itself is more than enough reason to listen to it. Website is located here.
NPR: Car Talk Podcast | Mostly entertainment, with the occasional factoid about auto maintenance thrown in. The hosts are hysterical (yes, I’m that guy laughing to himself in the car whenever I listen) and since it isn’t time sensitive you can listen whenever you want. Website is located here.
this WEEK in TECH | While I don’t necessarily agree with their self description of “the last word in tech”, it is definitely entertaining. I usually learn a few new things with each episode as well. Interestingly, I just noticed they also have “This Week in Enterprise Tech”, which I’m going to try out for a few weeks to see if I like it. Website is located here.
This American Life | This is a tough one to describe, so I’ll just copy and paste from their About Us page. If you’ve ever heard the show, then it’s a no brainer. If you haven’t heard it before, give it a shot. “There’s a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There’s lots more to the show, but it’s sort of hard to describe.” Website is located here.
I’ve also got a few new ones in the list, but I can’t recommend them yet so I won’t.
One last thing | While it isn’t a podcast per se, I would highly recommend obtaining some of Alan Watts’ recordings. He was a very interesting man and his recordings, even though they’re centered around Zen Buddhism, which I don’t practice, are peaceful, enlightening, and they force me to think about the choices I’m making in life and how I interact with the world around me. If you’ve ever watched Life, these are the recordings Charlie Crews is listening to all the time. Here’s an excerpt from his Wikipedia entry, which I would also recommend reading through if you have ten minutes to spare:
Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Born in Chislehurst, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master’s degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest then left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.
Watts gained a large following in the San Francisco Bay Area while working as a volunteer programmer at KPFA, a Pacifica Radio station in Berkeley. Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to Eastern and Western religion, introducing the then-burgeoning youth culture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism. In Psychotherapy East and West (1961), Watts proposed that Buddhism could be thought of as a form of psychotherapy and not a religion. He also explored human consciousness, in the essay “The New Alchemy” (1958), and in the book The Joyous Cosmology (1962).
Towards the end of his life, he divided his time between a houseboat in Sausalito and a cabin on Mount Tamalpais. His legacy has been kept alive by his son, Mark Watts, and many of his recorded talks and lectures are available on the Internet. According to the critic Erik Davis, his “writings and recorded talks still shimmer with a profound and galvanizing lucidity.”